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This blog is a documentation of the exploration in architecture + urbanism of the contemporary American + Italian city at the Universitá degli Studi di Siena.

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SIENA/Source Map Porta Romana

SIENA/Source Map Porta Romana

Sep
1st
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SIENA/Porta Romana Poem

(Source: lmt172)

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SIENA/sub|urban e|merging: mapping.spokes

Porta Romana

For the final studio assignment, our group (Trevor, Travis, Christine and Laura) focused on mapping the Porta Romana which leads to “the road to Rome”.  The road’s original name was Via Cassia, which was originally an Etruscan road dating to BC times; however, as pilgrimages to Rome increased in significance, the road became much more important.  The road connects Rome to Paris, and beyond, stopping along the way at Siena and Florence, along with many other medieval-period towns such as Buonconvento.  The road was known as the ‘safe’ road to Rome, primarily because it was so heavily travelled and followed the ridge, therefore, giving users the strategic advantage of being able to see danger as well as being above one’s potential attackers. The road has since been replaced by much more efficient highways such as the Autostrada (A1).  As a result, development along Via Cassia has been hindered, leaving it only for locals, bus routes, and tourists looking to ‘get off the beaten path’. 

As we walked the road, one of the main observations we had was the lack of pedestrians. This was an obvious result of the lack of sidewalks, shoulders, pathways, or anything to create a separation from the high speed of traffic traveling along the route. We took refuge at any space where the road simply widened to create an area that was safe enough to rest and mentally regroup for the oncoming onslaught of automobile traffic. We nicknamed these resting spaces based on the effect created by them. 

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 The first stop we came to was the lonely steps which was an unused, dilapidated staircase leading to a locked gate.  However, it was immediately adjacent to a bus stop, and allowed us to move off the narrow sidewalk to allow other pedestrians to pass by as well as to stop and talk for a minute before moving on. 

 The first stop we came to was the lonely steps which was an unused, dilapidated staircase leading to a locked gate.  However, it was immediately adjacent to a bus stop, and allowed us to move off the narrow sidewalk to allow other pedestrians to pass by as well as to stop and talk for a minute before moving on. 

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The next refuge area we came to was last chance town which was a tiny town along the road, home to a hair salon, a tabacchi, a pizzeria, and a bus stop; however, the potential of the town lied in the unused storefronts directly across the street from the bus stop. The town was named appropriately, because after last chance town the sidewalks end

The next refuge area we came to was last chance town which was a tiny town along the road, home to a hair salon, a tabacchi, a pizzeria, and a bus stop; however, the potential of the town lied in the unused storefronts directly across the street from the bus stop. The town was named appropriately, because after last chance town the sidewalks end

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After last chance town, the road narrowed sharply to allow traffic in each direction with about 18” of shoulder on either side along with a steep stone wall preventing potential pedestrians from moving away from traffic. This part of the road was winding and on a hill making it even more treacherous. 

After last chance town, the road narrowed sharply to allow traffic in each direction with about 18” of shoulder on either side along with a steep stone wall preventing potential pedestrians from moving away from traffic. This part of the road was winding and on a hill making it even more treacherous.